Stoke celebrated their first Premier League win in 23 years when the newcomers gained a last gasp 3-2 win over Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium here Saturday.
Belying their underdog status Stoke were the first team to score in Saturday’s Premier League programme, Liam Lawrence slotting home a 30th minute penalty after Martin Laursen had fouled Rory Delap.
Villa keeper Brad Friedel dived the right way but Lawrence’s low shot evaded the American to register the first topflight goal at Stoke’s home ground.
Stoke, trounced 3-1 by Bolton on their season opener last weekend, gave a debut to their 2.5 million pound signing from Newcastle, Abdoulaye Faye.
Lawrence and Ricardo Fuller were included in manager Tony Pulis’s starting line-up at the expense of Glen Whelan and Mamady Sidibe.
Villa manager Martin O’Neill not surprisingly put out the same XI that saw off Manchester City 4-2 in their curtain-raiser.
Gabriel Agbonlahor, who bagged three of those goals, made the start after recovering from a minor hamstring problem picked up with England Under-21s.
John Carew came up with the other goal last week and it was the Norwegian striker who put Villa back into the game on 63 minutes when he levelled with a low show across goal after being set up by a neat pass from Ashley Young.
Stoke were back in front though in the 80th minute after Lawrence found Ricardo Fuller racing down the right flank.
A deft flick saw Fuller pass Laursen with the move finished off by a tight angled shot past to beat Friedel.
Villa were back on level footing though four minutes later with Laursen pouncing on Young’s freekick to score from close range.
But Stoke weren’t done with yet as Delap conjured up a searching throw into the box with Mamady Sidibe getting the clincher in the fourth minute of time added on.
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